Greg’s Majorca Ride Report

Today we want to share a ride report from Signature Cycles client Greg Walters who is currently enjoying Signature’s annual Majorca trip.


Never have I suffered more physically than I did today. Never has suffering been more rewarding. We only rode about 70 miles, but climbed nearly 7,000 vertical feet. We rode two category 4 climbs, one category 2 climb, and one category 1 climb (which took over an hour to summit).

Something happened on the first big climb (category 2 with an average grade over 6%). The pain settled quickly. I have never ridden better and I certainly have never climbed better. I passed 11 other riders, including 7 Germans. Passing Germans is remarkably satisfying. (Editors note: It’s not uncommon to get passed going uphill by a German in the big ring while riding in Majorca – they tend to be fit!) After 26 minutes of climbing, I caught Justin’s group, which had started several minutes ahead of me.

Then we prepared for a beautiful beast.

No photo can capture the glory of Sa Colabra (the category 1 climb). We climbed to the top of Sa Colabra from the backside, wound around a 360 degree turn and found ourselves overlooking a vista of a twisty descent of several thousand feet over 6.5 miles to a port below. The road snaked about hairpin turns of 10%+ grades, cut through rock, and disappeared over ridges. From the top, the road looked like 20 discontinuous pieces of asphalt dropped from above.

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Paul’s Zipp/SRAM Dealer Advisory Board Debrief

Spending time on a bike in Tucson in February is always a treat. This past week I was one of eight retailers invited to attend the Zipp/SRAM Dealer Advisory Board. The board meets every year to review the state of our businesses and industry, comment on the current Zipp, SRAM and Quarq offerings and get a peak at what is in the test lab forecasted to be on our bikes in the coming 1-4 years. The meeting starts with the formal ritual of filling out the N.D.A’s. So, I can’t share with you what the future will bring at Zipp and SRAM, but I can say that they will make cycling even more enjoyable than it is now, with intuitive improvements to our standard way of how we operate a bike. I am being vague for a purpose, I want to be invited back next year and don’t want to have a lawyer at my doorstep when I get home.

The stuff I can share is not about vapor ware, it is the cool stuff that we can all use right now. Aero bars, power meters and wheels, oh my.

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Zipp just released their new Stealth aero bar. A one piece number where the base bar and stem have adjustable ranges fore, aft and pitch to allow the slickness of the one piece shape not to compromise either the aerodynamics of the bar or the adjustable range of the stem. Ingenious. The pads and aero extensions are exactly what we look for in adjustability and range, whereas the broadest athlete and the narrowest athlete can find a nice home for their forearms to be supported. This bar is a winner, both for the athlete and the fitter. Getting you in the perfect position is the first step in setting you up to PR in your next triathlon.

Quarq power meters come in two new versions for 2013, the ELSA and the RIKEN.

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Call it what you wish, Quarq started with a clean slate and delivered on a promise to offer ease of use, accurate data and platforms that allow all of the chain ring choices and competitor manufacturer compatibility, leaving nothing else to want in a power meter. The Elsa gives you power balance data, allowing you to monitor your left and right leg efforts. I know that feeling like an astronaut is important to some cyclists, so strap an Elsa on to your bike and take off so you can fine tune your motor like never before.

Tucson isn’t chosen every year just for its glorious sunsets and dry air. It is chosen because nothing is better than looking at the new cool offerings in a board room and then going outside in 70 degree weather and taking the stuff for a rip. It has been a long time coming since we first heard about the new 202 clincher Firecrest at last year’s meeting. Not wanting lawyers on my doorstep, I kept this close to my vest, although there were sightings of the wheel being tested at small events. I waited patiently for my turn, until I could get a pair on a bike and see what all the fuss was about. In the interest of full disclosure, my baseline wheel is the Lightweight Ventoux. In my eyes the Ventoux is the best wheel money can buy for performance, comfort and durability. Yes, they are by far one of the most expensive wheels on the market. However, the holy grail of everything that is great in a wheel comes at a price. Until now.


The 202’s blew me away, without blowing me away. It was windy in the desert but the 202’s stayed on course and gave me confidence to descend the mountain passes without tension or concern that the next cross wind would put my out-of-shape ass into a cactus. I loved the quick windup when climbing out of the saddle and the braking feel was the best of any wheel that I have ridden. If you want the best of all worlds, the 202 is your answer. You get everything and give up nothing. Not to mention you get to keep approximately $2500.00 in your pocket compared to purchasing the Lightweights. Not a bad deal and well worth the one year wait for them to finally come to market.

Now I have to wait, once again, for SRAM’s new category killer to be released. I don’t know why I put myself through this torture every year in Tucson. Call me a glutton for punishment, patience isn’t my strong suit. I guess there are worse ways to spend a week in February than with one of the coolest companies in our industry, chatting with engaging retailers, riding vapor ware and sipping a Martini watching the Arizona sunset.


2012 Bike of the Year Contest

We had the pleasure of building 200 beautiful one-off custom bikes for our clients in 2012 and each week we chose one of our favorites to feature on our website. Click to see our Pinterest board where you’ll find all of last year’s picks. Now we need your help choosing the 2012 BIKE OF THE YEAR. Take a look and click LIKE to vote for your favorite bike. We’ll be featuring the winner on our website and the winner will receive a pair of Assos Zegho eye protection glasses. Contest ends 1/11/13.


Grant’s Last Day

Grant Salter

After 17 years in the cycling industry, our invaluable Grant Salter is leaving Signature Cycles and heading to Nashville, TN, where he will take over management of a high-end custom car and motorcycle operation called the Greening Auto Company. Eight years and three months have passed since Grant moved from Michigan to Sloatsburg, NY, upon Paul’s job offer to help him build and fit bikes in his garage in Central Valley, NY. Grant came to help grow and shape a business that would be imitated and studied throughout the cycling industry. As of 2008, he is still one of the – if not the – most successful custom-bike consultant on the planet. With little time to spare on his last day in the office he helped build, I asked him a few questions:

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A Great Night at Our Greenwich Studio Grand Opening

Our Greenwich Studio Grand Opening party this November was a blast and we wanted to share this short video of the night with you. It’s always great to get so many friends, clients and partners together and we want to extend our thanks to everyone for coming out and celebrating with us. Reps from Seven, IF, Guru, Serotta, Parlee, Assos, Rapha, Shimano, Zipp, SRAM and Lightweight were there along with many of our clients. We gave away over $10,000 in prizes in our raffle including a Lightweight wheelset, a Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 group, and a cycling trip to Majorca! It was a great night and we want to thank everyone for showing up. If you missed it, please come by for a tour of our new Greenwich showroom soon – Happy New Year!



Behind the Scenes with Guru’s Ted Matthews

Guru CEO, Ted MatthewsOne of the reasons we work with Guru at Signature Cycles is because they are a no-compromise performance company that sweats the details. Guru is the one company that offers a state of the art custom tri bike that will match up against any manufacturers’ testing in the wind tunnel, while offering the athlete the best fit possible. We recently spoke with CEO Ted Matthews about what makes Guru tick, and what motivated him to step into a second career in the cycling industry.

Guru is based just outside of Montreal Canada, but the company was founded in 1993 by a young Italian engineering student, Tony Giannascoli. The name Guru reflected Giannascoli’s goal to create a handcrafted bicycle company that would be a leader and a guiding creative force in the industry. Though Matthews took over as CEO in September of 2009, he says Giannascoli continues to play a major role in the company and is still “the genius behind much of what we do at Guru”. Continue reading

Behind the Scenes with Seven’s Rob Vandermark

Seven’s CEO, Rob Vandermark

With a singular focus on custom built frames, Seven Cycles is a company founded on understanding the individual cyclist and delivering every rider the optimum fit, function and performance. Seven’s passion for custom, along with their mastery of materials, innovation and design, has helped them become the largest custom frame builders in the world. We recently talked with CEO Rob Vandermark about the company’s beginnings, his eclectic and passionate team, and new directions we might see from Seven in next few years.

Though switching careers every two years has become a norm these days, Vandermark says he’s basically had just two paths of focus in his life – sculpture and cycling – which it turns went very well together. While he was a sculpture major in college, Vandermark saw a job opening at Merlin Metalworks where he first learned to build titanium frames. Vandermark says, “Merlin was the innovator in titanium mountain bikes and it was an exciting time in the industry. I love working with my hands, problem solving in three dimensions, and exploring all kinds of engineering conundrums so it was very informative to learn in that environment. The work combined my love of sculpture and bikes.” Continue reading

Caffery’s Take: Independent Fabrication XS

An Independent Fabrication XS on an autumn afternoon in Central Park, NYC. Note the upside down crown decal on the fork blade.

In traditional Japanese sword-making, a special steel known as tamahagane is used to form the blade. About nine tons of satetsu, or iron sand, is smelted constantly by four or five workers over the course of three days to yield less than one ton of tamahagane. The process allows the swordsmith to produce a single mass of metal with varied densities of carbon – specifically, a softer, low-carbon shingane “core” steel, and a harder, high-carbon kawagane “skin” steel. The former is utilized for shock absorption, the latter for durability and blade sharpness. They find a home together, layered to make a single sword, each complimenting the other to the benefit of the samurai who wields it.

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Grand Opening RESCHEDULED!

Due to the approach of another storm that is expected to make landfall in the middle of this week, Signature Cycles has RESCHEDULED the Grand Opening of the relocated Greenwich Studio!

We are pushing back the date one week, to Thursday, November 15th, 2012 from 5:00-8:00PM.

The occasion will be all the same as planned, with over $10,000 worth of prizes being raffled, including a Lightweight wheelset and Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 group, as well as founders, CEOs, and representatives from our manufacturers and other companies within the cycling industry in attendance. Click here to learn more.

It will be a night to remember, and we hope to see you there. Please give us a call at 212-706-0025 (NYC) or 203-485-0500 (Greenwich) if you’d like any more details or information.